Da Coconut Repablik

A Chronicle of the Da Pinoys and Da Coconut Repablik of Da Pilipins

Da Pinoy Chronicle: On the Typhoon Pablo: Are We Really Prepared?

The Philippines is a tropical country and it is prone to natural calamities. That is a fact and it is also a typhoon route. The only irony of it is the people don’t seem to prepare so much to minimise the casualties and the damage of the typhoons that hit us every year.

Our country has been recognised as a template disaster country.  These are disasters that are caused by systemic issues that are profoundly inherent to the country. They are templates and therefore, by design, are highly repeatable. They happen again and again.

For example Typhoon Sendong. It was a very worst year ender for the Philippines as it had destroyed the infrastructure of Northern Mindanao. It has also claimed many lives as well. Another in 2006, when a landslide had killed 2,000 people in Leyte.

But the most memorable were Typhoon Ondoy and the August floods that had struck Imperial Manila. In these disasters, did we really learn from it? Are we planning long term goals in order for us to prepare for the calamity next time? Now Typhoon Pablo is on our back yard, do we expect our response to change?

As said by Mr. Arche Afable:

“Filipinos are very adaptable.”

“Even storms can’t deter their will to survive.”

“I’m so proud to be a Filipino.”

“Baha ka lang, Pilipino ako.” (You’re only a flood; I’m a Filipino.)

The torrent of praises aimed towards Filipinos is nott likely to end after braving fierce winds of the Southwest monsoon that ravaged the Philippines these past few days.  Apparently, the heavy rains served as proof of the Filipino’s unique capability for being resourceful, innovative and cooperative no matter how dire the situation is.

The monsoon did not dampen the Filipino’s spirit; it only fanned the flames of his survival instincts. Needless to say, recent events demonstrated what the Filipino is allegedly famous for; the ability to cope with just about anything.

Hooray for Filipino ingenuity. Three cheers for Filipino courage. Let’s celebrate in the spirit of bayanihan that has always lived in the hearts of Filipinos. Well, until next year then!

Indeed, we need only wait until next year (in the very least) for the very same things to happen again; floods, a bunch of Filipinos too stubborn to move out of their homes threatened by floods, a bunch of valiant volunteers braving the floods, a bunch of politicians waving at people affected by the floods, and a whole army of Filipinos with renewed hope, unmindful of the next flood that may come, perpetuating the never-ending chain of events that has always tarnished the image of the Philippines.

Sure, it’s not as if I intend to put the capacity of Filipinos to help in a negative light, and I certainly don’t see adaptability as a negative trait. However, the annual rainy season in the Philippines consistently proves a persistent truth; we never solve problems.

This “flood” problem has existed in the Philippines for so long, and the same things happen again and again. Like an eternal rerun of a cheesy telenovela, the rainy season is sure to give us an annual show depicting the valiance of the average Juan, his selfless sacrifice for those in need, the caring nature of the government, and so on. It just doesn’t end.

It’s like we’re stuck in a time loop or something.

This article is very relevant because it will test how the Filipinos are really prepared to face the Typhoon Pablo. Cooperation is quite lacking in our culture, for example the barangay officials want the whole settlement to evacuate, some people will refuse.

The common justification for this is ‘bahala na’. Most Filipinos like to leave their fate in God or God’s plan, which has already proven itself as foolish. It will not produce barricades not dikes to block the waves of Manila Bay or to control the flow of the Marikina River.

And so is the ability to cope with present hardships, being a crucial part of change. Filipinos, apparently, are always known to smile no matter how bad it gets. Filipinos are known to cope with any problems they face and still survive for another day. This is one trait most Filipinos brag all the time to the rest of the world, always quick to point out the average Juan’s capability to withstand anything nature throws at him. “Adaptable,” “flexible,” “strong” and “happy” are some of the words usually attached to the Filipino identity. And, not surprisingly, they’re actually good traits. However, the problem starts when we stop at the “coping” part.

The problem starts when we remain adaptable, flexible, strong and happy for a looooooong time without any real plan ahead to actually ease the burden we currently experience. The problem starts when optimism is tantamount to acceptance of mediocrity and intellectual stagnation.

 

In war, it is essential for a General to plan his actions before he will order the army to move. The army will not move in a spontaneous manner, it is all according to plan. The Filipinos lacked long term planning to prevent the similar scenarios over and over again. Instead, after the calamity has subsided, we will let our guard down, and the scenario will be the same as before. It is like a broken recorder.

The people’s lack of interest in planning is a key indicator why our country cannot even succeed. During the Typhoon Ondoy, the people were quick to blame GMA. Yes, they were somewhat responsible for the deluge but Homer had taken advantage of the citizens to win the elections.

As said by Benigno:

Typhoon Pedring, which hit just one year after the ascent to power of Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III, highlighted the fate of a number of public works initiated under former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) at the hands of what was then the newly-sworn-in president. In the aftermath of Pedring in late 2011, Representative Danilo Suarez of Quezon filed a House Resolution calling for an investigation into the effect of President BS Aquino’s cancellation of these projects.

Suarez’s reflection on this unfortunate move by the Second Aquino Administration was damning: “One cannot help but think that if these projects were not capriciously cancelled on the sole fact that they were initiated by the previous administration, then the recent floodings could have been prevented or mitigated.”

Notably, in stark contrast to the cold specificity with which Aquino’s Malacañang axed these projects, the President’s 2011 State of the Nation Address (SONA) was glaringly vague — almost mysterious — when it came to communicating the overall public works investment strategy of his administration.

Indeed, in his 2010 SONA, President BS Aquino, in his usual vague form alluded to what in his mind was the questionable manner with which the previous administration under GMA initiated so many projects. In a move that was later proven to be disastrous to the economy, President BS Aquino severely cut government spending on the basis of a flawed understanding of the manner with which the former administration managed the budget

 

I am doubting if the Filipinos can do their job properly to prepare for the typhoon. Don’t even place the environmental issue here, yes it has a credit. I believe in climate change but these problems are caused by people themselves. We are not saving the environment, we are making the environment safe for us.

I am not a God to predict what will happen, but by the power of reasoning, you can clearly see that there will be a deja vu. Poor Stupid Juan, how can you plan for your future if you are just waiting for a miracle?

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